The phrase “it takes a village” has always been a bit cliche to me. Yet, ironically, I’ve found myself saying it more the past 9 months and truly believing it.
I had my first child 9 months ago and was thrown into a crazy adventure. I had friends share their experiences and advice, but nothing can quite prepare you for childbirth and raising your first baby, where everything is new.
I’ve realized, more than ever, I’ve needed my people. I’ve needed physical help (making meals, cleaning, healing from childbirth), emotional help (processing the new anxieties I’ve faced, sorting through the chatter in my brain), spiritual help (praying for me, holding onto hope on the days it feels hopeless).Baby or not (and whether we actually want to admit it or not), we all need people to do life with–especially when we experience any type of change, loss, or new situation.
One of our basic human desires is connection. I believe we were created to be in relationship with one another and in community. We need connection to know we belong.
In reflecting upon other significant moments in my life–whether it was a celebration or a loss, the common theme of making it through to the other side was always people.
People caring for me in a number of ways–reminding me that I’m enough, providing a supportive ear, sitting with me, processing with me, celebrating with me and more.
One building block of resilience is connection with others and reaching out for support when you need it. Having social support serves as an important protective factor when we experience loss and other stressful and confusing life situations. It’s one thing to know there are people who care about you and want to listen to you, but it’s another to accept that support and let others walk with you through life. The acceptance of that support is what builds resilience.
Wanting to be seen
When we go through that breakup, have a pregnancy end in miscarriage, lose a family member or friend, we want someone to hold space with us as we grieve. When we lose that job, don’t get the job, or can’t even seem to land an interview, we want someone to validate that we are still enough. When we get the promotion, get accepted to that school, find out we are expecting, we want someone to celebrate with us. When we can’t get out of bed in the morning or our mind is so flooded with anxiety, we want someone to say ‘I’m not going anywhere’ and ‘we’ll get through this together’. Don’t we all want to be seen at the end of the day?
My village has included my own therapist, my spouse, my sister, my parents, my friends, and my church community. Each person has contributed so uniquely to my life, particularly in the past 9 months. They have contributed according to their specific gifts, skills, and personalities. As independent as I am, I’ve needed them–as much as I thought I could handle it all on my own, I couldn’t. Sure, we can meet many of our needs on our own, but that will only last so long. Our ability to hold everything together is limited.
So how do we get there? How do we know who our village is?
A few questions to start with:
- Who can I be authentic with? Who do I trust?
- Who has walked with me during past celebrations, sufferings, and just everyday life?
- What support do I currently need? (think about physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs you might have)
- Who can I reach out to for help? (this is not easy–who wants to acknowledge they need help?)
In the same way that you need others, someone needs you…You have something so unique to offer that no one else can. Who can you reach out to today to offer support and connection?
Having support is crucial in navigating the hardships of life. If you need help in processing a loss, a change, or other struggle, please reach out to myself or one of the therapists here at Optimum Joy today!
Written by therapist Natalie Hu
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